Crazy Food Dude

Review: Pure Organic Apple Cinnamon Bar

If you click back through the Pure bar review archive, you’ll notice a lot of these this year that and that has made me quite popular on the Pure Twitter feed and with the last review, they reminded me that unlike Larabars, their bar was completely organic.  Alrighty then.  So, today’s review has me taking a look at this Pure Organic Apple Cinnamon Bar and just so there is no confusion, this is 100% organic!  I picked it up at Whole Foods for $1.50 and the bar itself comes in at 1.7 ounces and has 200 calories with five grams of protein.

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Review: Liberte Greek Coconut Yogurt

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I live freebies on this blog, so whenever I see them pop up, I get overly excited. It’s pretty absurd actually.  Anyway, I’ve mentioned that the Friday Freebie at Kroger is one of my favorite things and that leads me to today’s review of this single serving cup of Liberte Greek Coconut Yogurt to add to my smallish review catalog.  This French Canadian produced baby comes in at 5.3 ounces and has 140 calories with eleven grams of protein.

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Review: CLIF Mojo Coconut Almond Peanut Fruit & Nut Trail Mix Bar

I mentioned in my last CLIF Bar review that I had noticed a new run of flavors in their Mojo product line and that led me to a splurge purchase of all the new flavors that were available at my Kroger.  Round two of that splurge leads to today’s review of this CLIF Mojo Coconut Almond Peanut Fruit & Nut Trail Mix Bar that I was able to pick up on sale for $1.00.  Each somewhat organic bar is 1.41 ounces and has 200 calories with five grams of protein.

These Mojo bars are nice because they lay it all out there for the eyes to see, not only by having a clear wrapper but also by not having any coating outside of the general ingredient mix.  As you can see from the photo above, there are a plethora of large coconut shards, large almonds and decent-sized peanut halves.  It’s a fun mix and very reminiscent of an bagged trail mix.  It’s all bound together by honey and what is odd about this and somewhat scary is that the bar has an overwhelming smell of salt from the sea salt that is mixed in with this.  I say this is somewhat scary because if something smells salty, there’s a pretty good chance that I’ll need a gallon of water nearby when I try to eat it.

Biting into this, it should come as no surprise based on the smell that the first thing that I tasted was salt.  In fact, if I had to assign a percentage to this, I’d say that 90% of the taste of this bar was salt and it was potent.  That said, the coconut flavor was still there, but it was really only present in the form of an aftertaste to the salt and it really wasn’t sweet at all.  It was just basic coconut flavor and that was it.  What it did do though was bring enough coconut flavor that it tamed the sea salt flavor just enough that it allowed that flavor to be palatable.  Granted, the power of that saltiness toed the line of being too much, the coconut kept it from crossing the line.  As for the rest of the bar, it really was all about the texture.  The almonds added big crunch due to their size and the peanut added grainy crunch, also due to their size.  What was interesting about this whole package though is that coconut shards in the mix didn’t really disintegrate at all and added to the grainy composition of each bite.  I guess I just didn’t expect that.

Buy It or Fly By It?  Like I said, this one toed the line of being too salty, but the minimal coconut flavor was just enough to save it and since it did save that flavor, I give this a BUY IT rating.  It was a tasty, yet salty, treat that did a good job of representing trail mix in a bar form.  It had enough nutty flavor as well, so that also added to the enjoyment factor as well.  Still, if you are going to down this one on your own, make sure you’ve got some fluids nearby.

BUY IT!!

Review: Bear Naked Almond Cranberry Real Nut Energy Bar

My first experience with Bear Naked bars was a positive one that I found to be particularly enjoyable.  It was with those high expectations that I headed into my next round of reviews of their products as I was able to pick this Bear Naked Almond Cranberry Real Nut Energy Bar at the “weird” Kroger along with the others for $1.25.  This bar comes in at 2.0 ounces and has 250 calories with eight grams of protein.  It’s all natural too, so that’s delightful was well, I suppose.

As you can see from the photo above, this bar is a mix of pretty much everything that Bear Naked promised.  There’s a plethora of dried cranberries and moderate sized almonds spread throughout the oat mix.  Also spread in there for additional enjoyment are little bits of peanut, honey, sea salt and almond butter.  Since this is a “Real Nut Energy Bar”, I don’t think it would be too much of a leap for me to say that I’m very happy that there were a plethora of “real” nuts spread throughout the bar itself.  As for the other characteristics of the bar, it had a strong scent of “butter”, which I would guess would specifically be the almond butter since that was in the ingredient list and it was also quite stick to hold, which I would imagine comes from the honey that was listed in the ingredients of the bar.  Like how I mixed by excellent reading skills with my excellent observation skills there?  Yep, I’m pretty much a savant when it comes to that kind of stuff…or something.

As I bit into this, my first observation was that this was soft and chewy and being that this bar carries somewhat similar characteristics to a CLIF bar, I wasn’t really all that surprised by that and I welcomed it.  Even though I am a professed crunchy food lover, sometimes something soft and chewy is all I really want and this bar had that.  If I did want crunch, all I had to do was look for the peanut and almond pieces that were spread throughout the chewy bar as they alternately brought some grainy crunch (peanuts) and occasional pop (almonds).  Outside of the texture, the most noticeable taste of this bar was that of the nutty almond butter.  I say it was the almond butter, because the flavor wasn’t quite peanut and it wasn’t quite full-fledged almond.  It was an amalgamation (like that word?) of all sorts of nut flavors and while it was probably somewhat sweet on its own, it was helped on a bit by the presence of the honey in the mix of the bar.  What was suspiciously absent, well, almost absent, was the taste of the dried cranberries.  They did bring some occasional soft chewiness, but they didn’t bring a lot of the flavor that I’ve come to expect from dried cranberries and I’ve got to say that sort of disappointed me.  Not enough to turn me off of the bar, but the lack of presence of that flavor (it only showed up in the aftertaste really and it was quite faint tang when doing so) was somewhat of a let down for me.

Buy It or Fly By It?  While the lack of cranberry flavor did disappoint me a bit, that did not mean that this was not a tasty bar.  It lacked the kind of flavor punch that I was expecting going in, but it still had enough flavor (especially nutty flavor) to make this a tasty treat and for that, I’ll eagerly give it a BUY IT rating.  Like I said, the cranberry flavor could pack more pop if they were to re-do this bar (perhaps I just got a tame bar?), but all in all, this is one that I think pretty much anyone would be satisfied with if they were to grab it off the shelf.

BUY IT!!

Review: Raw Revolution Heavenly Hazelnut Chocolate Bar

Today’s review finally leads me to the end of my Raw Revolution bar splurge that I made at Whole Foods in New York City (aren’t I sophisticated?).  Like the others, I picked up this Raw Revolution Heavenly Hazelnut Chocolate Bar for $1.50 and each bar weighs in at 1.8 ounces.  This particular bar has 230 calories and seven grams of protein packed inside it.  It’s also dairy free, gluten free, organic and vegan, so yippee-kay-yay mother fudger!

Taking this out of the wrapper, it looked similar to one of the other Raw Revolution bars that I’ve reviewed in that it had that darker coloring to it and it was also soft and chewy.  As opposed to the other bar that I reviewed, this one did not have a strong smell of chocolate coming out of the wrapper, although there’s nothing wrong with that.  Just more of an observation than anything.  Also within the bar was a collection of ground up hazelnuts, almonds and cashews.  Within that mix were several large almonds as well, so that was kind of nice from an appearance standpoint because I knew they would add some crunch to the bar in addition to the graininess that the ground up nuts would provide.

As expected, my first bite provided a soft bar that had a lot of graininess to the texture because of the ground up nuts.  The almonds then added occasional pop to each bite, so breaking up the softness of the date mix and the graininess of the ground up nuts with the pop of the large nuts was quite nice.  In terms of the flavor of the bar, it was mostly flat with a very slight hint of sweetness.  If there was a bit of flavor at all, it was from the cashews that provided a surprising pop of saltiness that I did not anticipate.  I wouldn’t say that amount of saltiness was evil in anyway, but it was something that I did not expect so it kind of shocked me.  Outside of that, the hazelnuts did not really have any flavor, but that’s surprising because I’ve always found hazelnuts to be a pretty weak flavored nut, which I find especially funny because the Mars siblings of the Mars Candy Company (the maker of M&M’s among others) wanted to totally re-do a product line (info about halfway down) based on hazelnuts.

Buy It or Fly By It?  Of all the Raw Revolution bars that I’ve tried out, this one was certainly the most boring.  That said, it was a decent enough flavored bar that I’ll give it a BUY IT rating.  This should certainly not be your first choice when picking out nutrition bar flavors because it is definitely not heavenly as the name implies, but it is certainly better than some of the other options that are out there.

BUY IT!!

Review: Yoplait Greek 100 Tropical Fruit Yogurt

After the winter that we’ve had in the Midwest, I’ve often been thinking about moving to the tropics.  It’s been horrible and it certainly didn’t make it any easier when I took a brief interlude to Cancun for a few days and then had to come back to a foot of fresh snow.  Not fun.  So, adding another review to my Yoplait review catalog fits right along with me thinking about moving to the tropics as I take a look at this 5.3 ounce single serving cup of Yoplait Greek 100 Tropical Fruit Yogurt that I was able to pick up on sale at Kroger for $1.00.  Given the name, it should come as no surprise that this has 100 calories and it also comes with ten grams of protein.  For those of you that are Weight Watchers out there, this one is worth two points on the PointsPlus scale.

This is fruit on the bottom style yogurt, so not surprisingly, there is plain yogurt on the top.  The fruit mix is below that and even before stirring this up (the yogurt was runnier than I would have expected) for the photo above, I could smell the strong citrus smell coming from the tropical fruit.  Once I did stir it up, I was grated by small chunks of mango and pineapple and while passion fruit was in the mix, it was in juice form only.  What really stood out here was the smell of the pineapple and it was quite strong, so strong in fact that it almost turned me off before I started.

The best word I can think of to describe the flavor of this is zippy.  The power of the citrus flavor from the combination of the three primary fruits in this has an overwhelmingly strong and almost sinus clearing zing to it.  That zing consisted of sweet, tang and zest…this one had it all.  Unfortunately, since this one did have it all, none of the flavors were uniquely identifiable.  They all blended together to nearly knock me off my feet.  The one thing that did keep me on my feet though was the Greek yogurt itself with it’s plain flavor.  While it did not have a big impact, it did have enough of an impact to tame the zippy flavor of the tropical fruits a little bit.

Buy It or Fly By It?  This nearly knocked me off my feet and had it not been for the Greek yogurt, it would have knocked me off my feet.  In the end, that tang was just way too much for me and I have to give this a FLY BY IT rating.  Some people may enjoy something that tastes this overwhelmingly “fresh”, but I am not one of those people as there was just too much zip in here and that reminded me of my sometimes archenemy pineapple.

FLY BY IT!!

Review: Magnum Infinity Chocolate Ice Cream Bars

I mentioned in my previous Magnum Infinity review that these kind of sneakily appeared in my local Kroger’s freezer case.  They are dark chocolate bars, so I guess that is what makes them Infinity?  Who knows.  Anyway, I picked up this box of three Magnum Infinity Chocolate Ice Cream Bars on sale for $2.99 and each bar is 3.38 fluid ounces and a semi-respectable (compared to many premium ice cream bars), but definitely not healthy, 260 calories.

As I did last time, I’ll just let Magnum describe what this is based on what they’ve put on their website: “Dark chocolate ice cream with a chocolate swirl, dipped in dark chocolate and cocoa bean nibs.”  So yep, that’s what it was.  Although, I will say that the chocolate swirl was disappointing in that it was initially hard to find and what I did end up finding (picture above) was very thin and difficult to notice (it definitely did not look like the bar on the box).  Being that I was hoping for that regular chocolate as a way to counteract the bitterness of dark chocolate, it’s lack of presence kind of frightened me.  The bar itself did have a smattering of cocoa nibs encased in the dark chocolate exterior shell and the whole thing smelled of the flat (and in my opinion, foul) smell of dark chocolate.  After the lack of chocolate ribbon and the overwhelming presence of dark chocolate, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot going into this.

Seems that not expecting a lot going into this was the right decision, because I didn’t get a lot out of this.  It was a lot of dark chocolate flavor and in fact, that’s pretty much all this was.  The tiny chocolate swirl did not provide any sweetness and since it was so small, it didn’t provide any texture breakup to the internal dark chocolate ice cream.  What this bar ended up being was a whole lot of dark chocolate flavor in various forms with the creamy ice cream and melting crunch of the dark chocolate shell.  The nibs brought a little bit of grainy crunch, but they also were flat-flavored, so this bar was essentially everything that I don’t like about dark chocolate…flat with no sweetness, topped off with bitterness.

Buy It or Fly By It?  Too flat, too bitter and no sweetness…not a recipe for something that I like, therefore this gets a FLY BY IT rating from me.  Now, I know there are people out there that like and even love dark chocolate (I can’t understand how), so this bar would probably be right up their alley.  In my case, I just can’t make that leap.

FLY BY IT!!

Review: Bear Naked Maple Nut Real Nut Energy Bar

It sometimes amazes me how products can vary from store to store in the same grocery store chain.  For example, I usually traffic two-to-three different Kroger stores in my area, so I typically see the same stuff over and over.  This past weekend, I was in a Kroger that out of my ordinary area and upon perusing the nutrition bar section, I saw some bars pop up that I’ve never seen in my normal stores, so I snatched a few up and that leads me to today’s review of this Bear Naked Maple Nut Real Nut Energy Bar that I grabbed for $1.25.  I’ve seen the Bear Naked granola cereals in several stores, but this is my first time seeing the actual bars.  This particular bar came it at 2.0 ounces with 260 calories and eight grams of protein.

After I took this out of the wrapper, I was immediately hit with an overpowering scent of maple.  Now, I have always been one of those people that puts too much syrup on my waffles and pancakes, so I obviously have no problem with maple.  That said, people that aren’t as addicted to maple may have a problem with this because it is quite strong.  Also, just like the syrup, this bar is quite sticky to hold and the fact that there is honey in this too certainly doesn’t help make it any less sticky.  As for the rest of the bar, it’s a mix of oats and nuts with peanut butter in the mix as well.  All of the nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts and pecans) are all visible, but it’s the almonds and cashews that stick out the most, at least from a visual perspective.  The only other thing of note was that this bar was very soft and pliable, so I knew I was headed for something that would be chewy.

Not surprisingly, my primary taste as I bit into this chewy bar was that of sweet maple and that was helped along by the sweet honey as well, which surprised me.  I didn’t think the honey flavor would be as noticeable as I was expecting it to get overpowered by the maple, but it managed to holds it own.  What was also surprising was the fact that the peanut butter that was in the nut and oat mix was as noticeable as it was.  It wasn’t a sweet peanut butter and that was good because the last thing this bar needed was more sweetness.  As for the nuts, I would say that the peanuts had the most pre-dominant flavor, but that is probably more due to the combination of those and the peanut butter.  The rest of the nuts just brought additional texture to each bite.  The almonds and cashews brought occasional large crunch since they were larger pieces and the peanuts and pecans added more graininess to each bite, especially when mixed with the oats.  Still, the primary flavor here was absolutely maple.

Buy It or Fly By It?  I’ve already mentioned that I have always been an overuser of maple syrup, so I’d be naturally inclined to like this bar and it turns out that I did like this bar, so it gets a BUY IT rating from me.  Even if you aren’t as much of a maple freak as I am, I think you’ll enjoy this bar because the flavor is so different, yet also so appealing.  That said, if you are not a maple person, you need to totally stay away from this bar because it is going to repulse you.

BUY IT!!

Review: Muscle Milk Vanilla Almond Yogurt Protein Crunch Bar

Muscle Milk products tend to scare me, but as I mentioned in a prior review, I saw some of their bars in Kroger recently and when they were tagged with the “NEW” label, I knew I couldn’t resist picking a couple up.  This Muscle Milk Vanilla Almond Yogurt Protein Crunch Bar is the second of that purchase and like the last, I got this for $1.99.  This beefy bar comes in at a robust 2.8 ounces and powerfully packs 350 calories and thirty grams of protein.  Nothing about this bar says diet…it all says muscle.  Kind of makes sense due to the manufacturer, eh?  Yeah, I’m pretty bright.

Taking this out of the wrapper presented a bar to me that looked nothing like what I expected based on the wrapper.  I expected something kind of artful and pillowy looking.  What I got something that was just mashed together, bulky and rock hard.  It smelled faintly of vanilla cream, but this certainly wasn’t going to win any beauty contests.  As for the composition of the bar itself, it had a yogurt base topped with the usual heavy and dense protein soy crisp interior.  The bar was then topped with a vanilla cream frosting with a mix of small almond pieces scattered throughout.  They weren’t shy with the almonds, which was nice, but they also weren’t generous with them either.

Expecting this bar to nearly break my teeth even before I took my first bite, I made sure to attack this one with my molars first in hopes of preserving my teeth.  I did preserve my teeth, but this was so rock hard that I almost shattered my molars.  Not exactly a wonderful feeling and that continued as I tried to chew my way through this.  In terms of flavor, this bar did have a lot of vanilla and while that was fine, it certainly wasn’t anything to write home about.  There was faint, if any, almond flavor and honestly, I couldn’t tell if the almonds were adding crunch or not because this bar was so difficult to chew through in the first place.  I guess I could say that the cream topping tasted kind of like cream frosting, but again, it was so hard that it really just tasted stale and mostly boring.

Buy It or Fly By It?  I really can’t say anything horribly bad about this bar, but I also can’t say anything all that good about it either.  It was just boring, rock hard and not really my cup of tea, so it gets a FLY BY IT rating.  I could perhaps see a need for this if you were trying to build up bulk and muscle and needed a different flavor, but outside of that, this product is pretty much useless in my mind and it ultimately ended up being strange since it was so manufactured.

FLY BY IT!!

Review: Yoplait Greek 100 Peach Yogurt

So I love peaches and I have developed a love for Greek yogurt.  That’s why it strikes me as odd that I’ve never matched the two up and done a review of today’s product since it matches both of those things up in one single serving cup.  Oddness aside, I picked up this 5.3 ounce single serving cup of Yoplait Greek 100 Peach Yogurt on sale at my local Kroger for $1.00.  Based on the name, it’s pretty obvious and should come as no surprise that this one has 100 calories.  To go along with those 100 calories are 10 grams of protein and this one scores as a two on the Weight Watchers PointsPlus scale.

If you can see the tiny print near the bottom of this cup in the header photo, you’ll be able to see going in that this products is marketed as a “Fruit on the Bottom” product, so the fact that I only saw plain Greek yogurt after taking the lid off of this comes as no surprise.  Once I stirred it up for the picture above, I found small, mildly peach smelling chunks of peaches mixed with in a fruit marmalade-type of concoction.  The yogurt itself was pretty basic and thick and the peach concoction was just like any type of marmalade that I would expect in that it was moderately loose.  Other than that, I’m not sure I’ve got any else of any substance to add.

As with all products that have multiple distinct components, I always see it as my responsibility to taste them separately first.  In the case of this cup, I tasted the Greek yogurt first and it was pretty bland and only had a faint amount of tartness like I’d expect from a Greek yogurt.  As for the peach mix, it was sweet, but that sweetness was quite mild, but peach flavored products tend to do that.  What was interesting about this is that when I mixed the two together, the strength of the peach flavor actually got stronger and overpowered what was already a weak tasting Greek yogurt.  It wasn’t overpowering enough to be unappealing, it was just unexpected.  What was particularly interesting was that the tartness (what limited amount there was) of the Greek yogurt cancelled out some of the sweetness of the peach mix and this ended up with something that had mild, but definitely noticeable peach flavoring.

Buy It or Fly By It?  Despite the fact that the flavor ended up being mild in the end, that mildness was exceptionally pleasing in my mind and I give this a solid BUY IT rating.  It was a tasty and worthwhile eating experience for me and while I often complain about lack of flavor, I think the fact that this was so mild actually made me enjoy it more.  Strange how that works out some times.

BUY IT!!
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